Allan Lim, CEO/Co founder of Alpha biofuels, Co founder of The Living! Project and more recently the founder of Comcrop, Singapore’s first sustainable rooftop urban farm. A social enterprise, Comcrop has various initiatives to weave its social mission into an economically viable business model, through the use of aquaponics. In partnership with *SCAPE (a youth development centre), Comcrop’s flagship farm is located on their 6,000 square feet rooftop which will be in full operation by the second quarter of 2014. Two of the farmers are youths (one a recent graduate and another about to begin her university studies), while some senior citizens are employed to help with harvesting and packing.
Working alongside researchers and experts in the field of aquaculture, Comcrop uses aquaponics which is a system that combines sustainable aquaculture with hydroponics in a symbiotic natural environment. This is done with a continuous recirculating water system mimicking a fresh water lake ecosystem where bio-waste from Tilapia fish are broken down and utilised by the plants as nutrients. In so doing, the plants purify the water for the fish. Comcrop’s produce is natural and clean. Being a local food producer also means that crops are allowed maximum ripening and are sweeter and more nutritious by the time it is harvested for consumption.
Since the beginning of Comcrop in 2011, it’s community outreach program has engaged youth for positive social change through urban farming. One such initiative under the Farmplay framework is working with Singapore Polytechnic student leaders from the group Enactus to develop low cost community farms with aquaponics. This project has since bore fruit as Enactus students have assisted students of Victoria Junior College to create their own aquaponic farms within their school premises to support the communities in need in the East Coast district.
Keywords:aquaponics, farm, rooftop, urban
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